MINNEAPOLIS — It took just eight seconds for Minnesota to seize control in its 8-0 win over Bemidji State.
By the time 60 minutes had elapsed, seven different players had scored and 14 had at least a point, including goaltender Noora Räty, who also posted her 38th career shutout, one shy of Jessie Vetter’s NCAA record.
Becky Kortum, Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessel each had three points for Minnesota (31-0-0, 25-0-0 WCHA), while Kelly Terry, Milica McMillen and Rachael Bona added two apiece. Kessel scored twice and Bona, Rachel Ramsey, Brandt, Kortum, McMillen and Katie Frischmann also found the net.
“The quick start for us obviously was key, scoring two goals in the first couple shifts there, one eight seconds in,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “We challenged our team after our last weekend at Ohio State to play a better 60 minutes of hockey and get back to playing the way that we know we can. I know our team had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder because we’d been harping on them all week.”
Bemidji State (6-21-2, 5-19-1 WCHA) faced an uphill climb almost immediately. Brandt won the opening faceoff back to Mira Jalosuo and the senior defenseman put a shot off of the end boards. Brandt won the race to it as it took an odd carom and she found Kessel in front for an quick redirect and a 1-0 advantage.
“I think it was just a good faceoff win, a chip in, and go hard to the net,” McMillen said.
Bona put a shot by Beavers’ goalie Abby Ryplanski on the next shift to make it 2-0 and the lead had grown to four by the first intermission.
“Any time you play a team like that, you’ve got to keep it close for as long as you can,” Bemidji State coach Steve Sertich said. “To get down that much that early was really a tough hill to climb.”
Kessel sniped another pass from Brandt on the first shot of the second period and Ryplanski’s night was done after making 19 saves. Jessica Havel took over in the BSU net, made another 19 stops and yielded three more tallies.
Räty turned away 17 shots and had the only assist on McMillen’s power-play goal that made it 7-0 just past the game’s midpoint. The senior came out to play a Beavers’ clear, fired it up to McMillen and the senior from St. Paul beat the last defender and found twine upstairs.
McMillen said she was aware that her goaltender could potentially earn an assist on the play.
“I was trying to make sure not many people touched [the puck],” she said.
The point is Räty’s ninth as a Gopher.
That game’s final tally provided the most boisterous celebration because it was the first goal of the year for Frischmann, Minnesota’s most versatile player who has seen action at center, wing, defense and even donned the goalie pads in emergency situations.
“I was excited to finally get a goal,” Frischmann said. “I really didn’t want to go my whole senior year without getting a goal. So it was nice and it was nice that it wasn’t really such a scrappy goal, that it was kind of nice at least.”
Camped on the edge of the crease, she redirected a pass from linemate Jordyn Burns to the top of the cage.
“I probably kind of cele’d a little too hard, but I was pretty excited to get a goal,” Frischmann said. “We had our senior banquet last night and it’s just been kind of an emotional couple days with Senior Weekend this weekend.”
Her teammates on the bench shared her joy.
“That’s what our team is about,” Frost said. “Just being grateful and devoted to one another and that was a perfect example of that.”
Sertich liked that his team didn’t quit and played their best period in the third, having a 9-7 edge in shots.
“I thought we battled a little bit more as the game went on,” he said. “I told the girls just what they did at the end, just jamming. We’re down 8-0 in their house and they’re still jamming away down there. That means something to me personally.”
The Beavers may have been still feeling the effects of battling back from two down to force overtime in North Dakota a week earlier only to lose on a goal late in overtime.
“We’ve done that three or four times where we’ve come back, we gave ourselves a chance to win and we let it slip away,” Sertich said. “We lost three overtime games and that was one of three. Those haunt us. We played well enough to win and weren’t able to figure out a way to do it.”